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Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Philippine Flavors

Auntie Ning’s brings Philippine favorites to the city via a new brick-and-mortar.

Posted By on Tue, Aug 31, 2021 at 4:13 PM

Growing up in Norfolk, Fred Enriquez never imagined the countless hours spent with his mother and aunt in the kitchen of the family restaurant would inspire him to open a Philippine food joint of his own one day. The fact that Fred’s childhood best friend, Zack Brenner, is now one of his business partners in Richmond’s latest Philippine food endeavor is another testament to the culinary prowess of the family’s matriarch and the restaurant’s namesake: Auntie Ning.

“My inspiration has always been the women of my family – my grandma, mother and aunties,” Enriquez says. “I’ve always been around amazing cooks all my life. Almost all the recipes are my own interpretations of what I remember my family’s cooking to be.”

Auntie Ning’s third owner, Justin Shaw, met Enriquez thanks to his then housemate, Brenner, while on a beach trip to Hampton Roads. As the three became fast friends one topic of conversation continually arose: Why aren’t there any Philippine restaurants in Richmond? After bantering about the idea of opening their own joint, they uttered the famous last words: “How hard could it be?”

Auntie Ning’s began with a rented tent at a farmers market over two years ago and has quickly grown from there. “We were giving away a lot of lumpia to get people hooked, but we got so much business we were able to scale up our operation from a tent to a food trailer to an all-in-one food truck,” Shaw recalls.

Late last month the trio took the next step on the journey towards a full-fledged restaurant with a brick-and-mortar pop-up at Market on Meadow in the Fan. The push for a more permanent location was driven by a desire to expand the menu while still offering the freshest flavors possible.

“There’s a big difference in scalability between cooking all the food you want to sell and bringing it there versus being able to cook on-site for customers,” Shaw says. Decamping from Henrico County to set up in the city has also proven a boon to business. “Moving to the Fan drastically increases our reach because customers can just walk in and now we can access local delivery services that only serve the city like Chop Chop and Quickness.”

While the new venue at Market on Meadow has expanded its business, that doesn’t mean Auntie Ning’s has given up on its food truck. From Bryan Park to Carytown to the Veil, the three gentlemen put on a surprising number of food truck pop-ups in addition to their opening hours at the new Fan location, which are 4-9 p.m. every day but Tuesday. However, juggling the demands of two locations hasn’t meant any compromises on their food’s freshness or flavor.

Auntie Ning’s consistent top seller is the lechon kawali, a pillar of Philippine food culture featuring juicy slices of pork belly Enriquez slow-cooks for 24 hours before flash frying them so each piece comes out incredibly crispy. The lechon includes a garlic fried rice that packs a punch and, as with all the entrees on the menu, it comes with two lumpia. Those looking for an extra heft to their meal should order the breakfast bowl to add two over easy eggs to the dish.

Shaw’s current favorite and a new offering to the menu is the kalderata, a beef stew left to simmer overnight with tomatoes, bell peppers and potatoes. “It’s a very hearty meal and I’ve never seen it anywhere else in Richmond,” Shaw notes. “Given that there’s next to no Filipino food here, everything we offer is pretty much one of a kind in town.”

While some of the dishes use the exact same recipe handed down to Enriquez by his mother, Ning, others have offered him the opportunity to experiment and stretch the limits of traditional Philippine cuisine. “The one thing that is closest to my mom’s and aunt’s recipe is the beef lumpia,” Enriquez says. “The lechon and veggie lumpia are less traditional and more of my own design.”

Where will Auntie Ning’s boundary-pushing head chef take the restaurant’s menu next? It could be in a rather un-Philippine direction for a land known for pork’s near universal presence.

“As far as possible new recipes, I plan on creating more vegan dishes,” Enriquez says. “Veganism is very new to the Philippines, but I think it translates well. I think most Filipino dishes would be delicious if made vegan.”

Auntie Ning’s
719 N. Meadow St.
auntienings.com

Monday, August 30, 2021

Yes, Virginia, there's CBD popcorn

Lammar Marie Gourmet Popcorn is offering two popular flavors with cannabidiol.

Posted By on Mon, Aug 30, 2021 at 4:00 AM

Each bag will contain three servings with each serving delivering 30mg of premium full-spectrum CBD
  • Each bag will contain three servings with each serving delivering 30mg of premium full-spectrum CBD

Black-owned, locally-based business Lammar Marie Gourmet popcorn just announced that it will be releasing CBD popcorn in two of its most popular flavors, snickerdoodle and buttery white cheddar. They will be available for purchase online and in-store.

For those who still don't know what CBD is, it's cannabidiol, a chemical in the cannabis sativa plant that can help with anxiety and pain relief, but no, it doesn't get you high. (Unless feeling relaxed and unstressed is like being high for you, which it is for us.) Think of it like nature's Zanax.

"We always want to wow our customers with every new flavor launch and gift offering," says Rialand Lammar, chief pop master and director of deliciousness at Lammar Marie Gourmet Popcorn, in a press release. "With trends showing increasing interest in CBD products, it's only natural we add CBD to our offerings for them."

The release noted that "increased awareness about the health benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) and changing consumer attitudes toward hemp products are leading experts to predict a growing demand for CBD products. According to Market Watch, the CBD market is set grow by 33.5% between 2021-2026."

"We're hoping people who already love the benefits of CBD discover a new way to enjoy it that's full of flavor," adds Lammar in the release. "We also want people who are curious about CBD to consider giving it a try because they already love and trust Lammar Marie's Gourmet Popcorn. It's already been a big hit with our earliest customers."

Each bag will contain three servings with each serving delivering 30mg of premium full-spectrum CBD. The CBD popcorn is now available in-store and online and ships nationally; to find out more or to purchase, please visit https://lammarmarie.com/collections/cbd-popcorn.

Monday, August 9, 2021

All Together Now

Altruistic dining pop-up, Service RVA, is using the restaurant community to help nonprofits.

Posted By on Mon, Aug 9, 2021 at 11:45 AM

Service industry workers are accustomed to being put through the fire, especially in the past year and a half. They hang in there because they love the work, the restaurants, (some) diners and their colleagues. But they typically hang in longer when tips are involved.

The city’s latest itinerant concept, Service RVA, takes monetary compensation out of the equation. The pop-up asks that local servers, bartenders, restaurant owners and cooks donate their time and talent for one evening, with all proceeds, tips included, going to an area nonprofit.

We sat down with industry vet and Susie and Esther co-founder Yael Cantor to discuss Service RVA.

Style Weekly: What was the impetus to launch Service RVA now?

Yael Cantor: It all started with just a thought that I had a few years ago when I was working at Saison. I always wondered if there was a way we [service industry workers] could volunteer with our skills, but I was a little too intimidated to even start. But then after this last year, and after my husband and I launched Susie and Esther, I realized if I want to do something I can just do it. It can only be done with the community – I’m just planning it

What has the community response been since you created that Instagram page at the end of July?

Our first event [on Sunday, Aug. 8] we have a server from Helen’s, a server from Sabai, a bartender from the Jasper and a bartender from Lemaire. It’s all completely different people, some don’t know each other. Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits has donated Campari and tequila and Ashley Patino from Pizza Bones is making fresh pita bread out of her pizza ovens to go with our hummus plates. Donnie [Glass, Grisette owner] has been so great to open Grisette for us on the day they’re closed. He was nice enough to work with us to put all the tables outside, just to be safe with everything going on. I imagine it’s very stressful to have people in your restaurant!

Why did you choose MAD RVA (Mutual Aid Disaster Relief) as your first nonprofit partner?

I used to volunteer with MAD and I really like their message. It’s necessary for a community to find mutual aid through solidarity, not charity. We are sticking with these people, we are one together. This is not government-based. It’s just people taking care of one another. For future events I will get with everyone who has volunteered to participate to see what nonprofit we want to donate to next.

What’s the plan going forward for Service RVA?

I’ve had people and restaurants reach out so hopefully I should have events lined up (details to be announced) through October soon. We’d like to do this once a month or once every six weeks. It is hard because restaurant workers have been through hell and back for the past year and a half. The fact that there are still people who want to help out and volunteer is really, really cool.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Kitchen Kismet

Japanese pop-up Young Mother takes over Adarra Monday, Aug. 9.

Posted By on Mon, Jul 26, 2021 at 1:46 PM

Korean-born Daniel Harthausen says he won’t list all the places he’s lived, “We moved around a bunch.”

The itinerant lifestyle, part and parcel with having a parent in the military, an Air Force dad in this case, eventually brought Harthausen to Hampton Roads, where he attended high school before moving to Richmond to make his way in the restaurant industry.

At only 21, Harthausen was brought on by Richmond chef John Maher to help run the kitchen at Japanese izakaya concept, Yaki, which ran as a pop-up out of cocktail bar The Rogue Gentlemen, the space that now houses restaurant Adarra.

“I didn’t know everything I was doing,” Harthausen says. “But I was there for the challenge. It ended up not working out, but it was a very influential experience as far as pushing me forward with everything now.”

After Yaki, the young chef decided to take some time off from cooking, focusing instead on perfecting front-of-house operations, from bartending to managing to serving. Without realizing it, he ended up back at the same building that once hosted the Yaki pop-up.

“I was a server at Adarra for about a year – I wanted to improve my wine knowledge and they were the place to go,” Harthausen says.

“One thing I appreciate about Randall and Lyne [Doetzer, Adarra’s owners] is that they never sacrificed what they wanted to give people because of their circumstances,” Harthausen says. “They’re rebounding really well because of that. They grinded through this insane time but never gave up what they were about, and I appreciate that.”

With his passion for cooking reignited, Harthausen decided it was time to get back in the kitchen. He hosted his first Japanese pop-up, Young Mother, at Adarra this March.

He’s been hosting a pop-up in the space one Monday a month ever since.

“I wanted to do a deep dive into Japanese and Korean history because I was never really taught Eastern Asian history in school or anything, and I found there was a lot of overlap between the two countries,” Harthausen says, who spent summers as a teen in Okinawa visiting his mother. “Turns out, I’m part Japanese.”

Harthausen has been posting long-form, episodic narratives alongside gorgeous food photos on his Young Mother Instagram, exploring the stories behind different Japanese dishes – and unfiltered sakes – along with his followers.

“There is a reasoning behind everything I make,” Harthausen says. “When I approach any concept I have intentionality, otherwise why would you do it? I think being transparent about that is fun for the guest, and it also gives me paths to work down.”

Young Mother events have played out like a typical dinner service – no tickets or high expectations required. “It’s the first time I’ve really been in a setting where I can talk to guests after their meal, which is really rewarding,” Harthausen says.

As for future Young Mother plans? Harthausen, who currently runs the coffee program at Common House and also is one of the club’s managers, says he’s going to keep dialing in his dishes as long as Adarra will have him. “I don’t know if necessarily the goal is opening my own space, but I know right now it’s really fun to do once a month.” S

Keep an eye out for details on Young Mother’s fifth pop-up taking place Aug. 9 at Adarra by following it on Instagram, @youngmotherva.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Save the Date

This summer: a pop-up wine dinner and three-night culinary journey.

Posted By on Mon, Jul 19, 2021 at 1:13 PM

Almost 64% of Virginia’s adult population is fully vaccinated. Folks who were holed up ordering frozen pizzas from the nearest Publix for 15 months are ready to dust off their palates and re-enter Richmond’s still-vibrant culinary scene.

Since spring 2021, makers, bakers and mixologists have been slowly introducing and re-introducing themselves to the city – from popular pasta residencies to roving Big Island pop-ups, there is no shortage of food and drink related happenings to satisfy even the choosiest gourmand.

Here, we’ve highlighted two upcoming ticketed events that highlight some of the top talent the city has to offer. Check them out and grab your ticket before they’re gone.

RichWine + MannyEats: Bottomless Tapas & Wine // Friday, July 23

“I tasted Manny’s food before I ever met him,” says RichWine co-founder Lance Lemon. “And it just slapped, it’s so good.”

Lemon and longtime friend-turned-business partner Kristen Gardner started their boutique online wine retailer last summer, delivering bio-dynamic varietals from around the world to oenophiles around the city.

Private chef Emmanuel “Manny” Baiden of Manny Eats is a self-proclaimed wine lover, too, so when he was first introduced to Lemon and Gardner, he knew the three were destined to team up some day.

The first event highlighting Baiden’s cuisine and RichWine’s good stuff will take place Friday, July 23, at Canvas Studios. “I miss, from living in New York, the bottomless brunch, the all-you-can-eat food and drink,” Gardner says of the inspiration for Bottomless Tapas & Wine.

For two hours, guests will be able to mingle with the chef and wine pros, enjoying four to five of Baiden’s passed apps alongside RichWine pours – plus an epic charcuterie board.

 

“It’s a fun balance, we always get to play off each other,” Lemon says. “Manny has the skill to pair food to wine, so it’s really a good time.”

The three have been conducting some intensive R&D in advance of the event, so guests are sure to sample highly curated pairings they hope will leave them wanting more.

“We will be looking to do more events like this,” Gardner says. “We are definitely saving to get a brick-and-mortar space, so a lot of these events are geared toward pushing us in that direction.”

RichWine + MannyEats: Bottomless Tapas & Wine runs from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Canvas Studios, 3108 Semmes Ave. Tickets cost $125 before July 21. You can book customized wine experiences with RichWine and book private dining and catering events with chef Manny.

Indie Chefs Reunion 2021 Thursday, Aug. 5, Friday, Aug. 6, and Sunday, Aug. 8

Indie Chefs Community founder Grover Smith has been working to create a more- inclusive and equitable chef community for years.

Indie Chefs Week, the original iteration of the community, was started in 2013 in Austin, Texas, as a “kind of antithesis to the sort of food festivals where chefs don’t get taken care of,” Smith says. “The whole idea was to get a lot of people together that deserved a platform and didn’t get the spotlight.”

Since founding ICC in 2017, Smith and a tight-knit, fun-loving crew of chefs hailing from San Francisco to Washington have been popping up in cities – 14 so far – for multinight, culinary throwdowns.

The chefs who participate in these dinners are all uber-talented and often under-appreciated, Smith says. To receive entry into the group, chefs must follow a “strict code of conduct.” “Success is predicated on the group dynamic – one bad egg can ruin two dozen,” Smith says.

This August, Richmond’s own good egg Brittanny Anderson will serve as ICC host for three 12-course dinners, all taking place at Anderson’s Brenner Pass, featuring two dozen chefs – with five former “Top Chef” participants in the mix.

 

The first two nights will feature 12 chefs and the grand finale will bring all 24 toques together to whip up an improvised menu based on what they learned about Richmond over the past 72 hours.

Anderson has been participating in Indie Chefs Week dinners since 2016. “I’ve made some of my best friends,” she says. “The amount of knowledge [chefs get] during Indie Chefs week is incredible – we didn’t go to business school. We get to network with other chefs, learn better techniques.”

All chefs who participate in the events have their travel, accommodations and fees paid for, plus the chefs are treated to a culinary tour of the city they’re visiting. “The focus is not on the guest, but the chef experience,” Smith says.

While not necessarily a public-relations-friendly mantra, this mission ultimately benefits all involved. “You can always taste the environment in food,” Smith says. “That attitude is reflected in these dinners. It’s like being at a dinner party with really talented people who do this for a living and who are having a really great time.”

Indie Chefs Reunion 2021 tickets are available online. Tickets for Aug. 5 cost $215. Tickets for Aug. 6 cost $235 for general admission and $285 for VIP. Tickets for the grand finale on Aug. 8 cost $245. All three dinners include 12 courses and take place at Brenner Pass at 3200 Rockbridge St., No. 100. Keep an eye out for menu updates by following the event’s ticket page and on Instagram @indiechefscommunity.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

A Boozy Debut

Northside’s Ninja Kombucha is unveiling unheralded alcoholic varieties.

Posted By on Thu, Jul 1, 2021 at 4:00 AM

One expects to see a moscow mule on the menu of a cocktail bar, but on tap at a kombucha brewery? Such imbibable innovations are not just new to the Brookland Park Boulevard location that Ninja Kombucha calls home, locally-brewed hard kombucha is a first for Richmond. After tough times during the pandemic, Ninja’s taproom is ready to fill local flavor palettes with new fermented favorites.

The irony of eventually moving into alcoholic varieties after beginning his brewing business during a break from drinking is not lost on Brett Nobile, the founder, co-owner, and head brewer at Ninja Kombucha.

“When we started producing alcoholic flavors we had to ask if it’s in alignment with the mission of our company,” says Nobile. “Our business motive is to try and give people a healthy alternative to beer and wine when they enjoy a craft beverage with friends. We’re hoping to get more people into drinking kombucha from trying a hard kombucha, but if you’re already going to be drinking, then why not something with health benefits alongside the alcohol?”

Until the official nutritional label testing results come back, the exact health advantages of Ninja’s new boozy Blue Mule variety will remain in the eye of the beholder. Thanks to the concoction’s ginger and blueberry kombucha base, he can guarantee plenty of acetic acid, living cultures, and 6% alcohol by volume.

The new line of potent potables coming out of Ninja Kombucha over the next few months demonstrates how far the brand has come since its humble beginnings in Nobile’s house in 2015. For three years the business operated out of the Createspace Collective on nearby Wickham Avenue. Eventually Ninja’s success forced Nobile to move his operations to a larger location last November. The pandemic quickly closed their brand new taproom, giving the team more time to figure out how to best use the space.

“There’s nothing like us that exists in Richmond, so there’s no kombucha taproom model for us to follow,” Nobile says. “The taproom is going to be an awesome space where we can host events and classes, but we’ll just be hashing it out and seeing what resonates with people.”

SCOTT ELMQUIST
  • Scott Elmquist

Among the potential offerings could be a class on fermenting tomatoes, teaching people how to infuse herbs into their food, and maybe even a course on cooking with cannabis if the commonwealth’s new marijuana laws will allow it. Ninja’s many years spent at farmers’ markets led them to want to highlight other great local businesses with some new fermented food options like a tempeh reuben sandwich and kimchi quesadillas made with Wild Earth products.

Even as new food options roll out via an array of pop-up events over the coming months, the star of the show will remain Ninja’s many creative kombuchas such as blood orange and ginger, blackberry hibiscus, and blueberry lavender. Nobile aims to keep a small list of tried-and-true favorites on tap while still leaving room for experimentation. Moving into the fall, visitors to Ninja’s taproom can expect a boozy apple variety as well as a hops-forward kombucha with a pop of citrus like orange or tangerine.

Technically the new boozy kombuchas are a wine beverage fermented from fruit with an extra kick from spirits made by local distillery Trial & Error in the Fan. The relatively high level of alcohol means that those interested in trying the new varieties must either tipple on them in Ninja’s taproom or pick up some cans to go. Whichever way customers choose to imbibe Nobile’s kombucha, the flavors, the process, and even the cultures at the heart of the product’s fermentation haven’t changed.

Ninja Kombucha is located at 126 W. Brookland Park Blvd. - SCOTT ELMQUIST
  • Scott Elmquist
  • Ninja Kombucha is located at 126 W. Brookland Park Blvd.

“I’ve been brewing with the same cultures from 2015,” Nobile says. “It’s kind of insane that the stuff that started in my house is still propagating and producing really good quality kombucha.”

Monday, June 28, 2021

Red, White & Cue: A roundup of Independence Day-friendly, grab-and-go barbecue.

Posted By on Mon, Jun 28, 2021 at 12:43 PM

Fourth of July celebrations are gearing up to look a little different this year.

Gov. Ralph Northam officially lifted the mask mandate more than a month ago, and as of June 24, 70% of the adult population in Virginia had gotten at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

It goes without saying that folks are ready to let loose, light some fireworks and have their loved ones and neighbors over for a backyard fete.

Unless you’re a dedicated pitmaster, chances are you may want the pros to handle your Independence Day spread. Here, we’ve rounded up a smattering of barbecue to-go options that you can pre-order this week. Check them out:

ZZQ just reopened its indoor dining – you may have spotted the lines on Instagram – so you can always head to Scott’s Addition for an in-person Texas brisket feast. If you’d rather bring the goods home, large party orders can be placed at least 72 hours in advance by emailing info@zzqrva.com.

You can order pickup or delivery from Buz and Ned’s Real Barbecue at least two days in advance. Choose from four different meat packages. All include three sides, rolls, hot sauce and tea by the gallon.

Q Barbeque has an easy online ordering system for your catering needs. Choose from four meat packages and select sides such as corn pudding, pineapple hot dish and collard greens.

Deep Run Roadhouse has catering packages plus family packs available (suited for four to 14 guests). Snag a party family pack that feeds 12-14 with 2 pounds of pork or chicken, 1 pound of brisket, two racks of ribs, seven large sides and a dozen buns and sauce for only $145.

If you’re holding a smaller gathering you may want to order a family meal online from the Pitts BBQ Joint. The Good Times for eight package includes one rack of ribs, a pound of barbecue with coleslaw, one pound of brisket and 2 pounds worth of two sides.

Smohk RVA has a full catering menu plus a streamlined drive-thru pickup option for a basic combo package. Be sure to add on desserts like house baked chocolate chunk and oatmeal raisin cookies and pecan pie.

Pig and Brew has meats available in different pound increments. You can order a minimum of 5 pounds of brisket, minced North Carolina-style pork, pulled chicken barbecue, and smoked pork ribs by the rack of five or 13. Order fried fish, smoked wings and fried wings for 20 to 50 people.

The Smoky Mug in Brookland Park recently fired up its smoker and will have barbecue available for pre-order by the pound through Monday, June 28. Pickup is Saturday, July 3 or the morning of Sunday, July 4. For in-person dining, Smoky Mug ’cue is available every Saturday from noon-5 p.m., or until it sells out.

Monday, June 21, 2021

River City Ohana

New Hawaiian street food concept pops up at Tabol Brewing this June.

Posted By on Mon, Jun 21, 2021 at 10:00 AM

Lauren LeVine has been conducting Hawaiian street food R&D in her kitchen for years, though her Aloha Catering Co. Instagram didn’t launch until spring 2019. “I think some of the first pictures are just of grilled pineapple in my backyard,” she laughs.

Working in sales by day, LeVine spends her off hours re-creating the sweet, salty dishes she loved as a child growing up on the Big Island. Her first two official Aloha Catering Co. pop-ups took place this April and May at Instabowl. Both sold out.

“There are so many great cooks and chefs here opening their doors to people,” says LeVine, who refers to Instabowl’s Mike Ledesma as both a friend and mentor. “This is such a great city to be a pop-up because so many restaurants will say ‘come in and use our space,’ like Hatch Kitchen and the Jasper and Tabol.”

Aloha’s third pop-up takes place Saturday, June 26, from noon to 5 p.m. at Tabol Brewing. This will be LeVine’s first event at a brewery and her first time operating without the guidance of Ledesma. “There’s something super-exciting and challenging about stepping out from Mike’s wing,” LeVine says.

Her Tabol pop-up will feature entrees including smoked kalua pork with guava barbecue, fried chicken katsu, Big Island hot dogs and vegan teriyaki portobello mushroom burgers. All sandwiches, served on Back Alley Bakes Hawaiian rolls, come with Furikake french fries and aioli for $16, and a la carte grilled pineapple skewers and guava juice will be available for $4. Pre-orders can be placed online.

Tabol Brewing has an onsite food truck that any pop-up is able to use, which is yet another example, LeVine says, of how thoughtful and savvy the RVA food scene is.

“The owner, Travis [Dise], invested in a food truck for anybody who needed a commercial cooking space – what other breweries have that? It’s perfect for people like me who don’t want to buy their own commercial equipment,” LeVine says.

As for the Hawaiian street food pop-up schedule for the rest of 2021, LeVine says that Aloha will be “kind of exclusive throughout the year,” with a smattering of public events. Aloha also caters private affairs, which offers LeVine the flexibility to really amp up the luau experience and connect with her guests one-on-one.

LeVine plans to visit Hawaii in the next six months to immerse herself, once again, in the colorful island cuisine she first fell in love with as a 6-year-old girl.

“When you think of Hawaiian street food you have the proteins like beef, chicken and pork, then you have fish and shrimp and lots of fresh fruit,” LeVine says. “This is the food I love, and every time people come to my house this is what I serve them.”

Keep up to date with Aloha happenings by following it on Instagram @alohacateringco.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Notable spring openings, newly reopened favorites and coming-soon spots.

Posted By on Wed, May 26, 2021 at 11:12 AM

Just Opened

The Stella’s Grocery Westhampton location is now open 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays at 5802 Grove Ave. with coffee and prepared foods.

Charm School Study Hall is now open at 4930 Forest Hill Ave. This second Charm School outpost is open weekends with a rotating lineup of two dairy and two vegan flavors of soft-serve.

Red Goat Pizza is now open at 2930-C W. Broad St. in Scott’s Addition, behind Three Notch’d Brewing serving pizza, salads and pizza-salads to-go.

Str8OutofPhilly is now open for lunch and dinner Tuesday-Sunday at 405 N. First St. in Jackson Ward.

Recently Opened

Native Plate opened in April at 1203 E Main St., serving “global street food with Asian and American influence.” Think pok pok wings, duck bao buns and sashimi. Open for lunch and dinner, dine-in and to-go.

Carlos Ordaz-Nunez’s TBT El Gallo opened at 2118 W. Cary St. this March with much fanfare: It still sells out. Open for takeout only, Tuesdays-Saturdays.

Pancho’s Cantina & Grill opened in late March at 1919 W. Main St. serving dinner and weekend brunch Tuesdays-Sundays.

Newly Reopened

The Broken Tulip has reopened for on-site, outdoor-only dining and recently has introduced a rotating three-course set lunch menu.

The long-anticipated reopening of Helen’s is here. Get your brunch and dinner fix at the Main Street mainstay.

The Jasper reopened in mid-May after a pandemic-born hibernation. Hours are 5 p.m.-midnight, first come, first served.

After 421 days, Secco Wine Bar is back with dining room and patio seating Tuesdays-Saturdays, 5-10 p.m.

Coming Soon

New York-style, by-the-slice Zorch Pizza has been regularly popping up in its food truck with classic and specialty pizzas and giant cheesy bread. Look out for the grand opening of a storefront at 2923 W. Cary St. soon.

The Pit and the Peel Rooftop is set to open the first week of June at 1210 W. Main St. with a full food menu and fresh-pressed juice cocktails.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Trial by Fire

Local chef Steve Glenn competes on “Hell’s Kitchen: Young Guns.”

Posted By on Mon, May 24, 2021 at 9:55 AM

Gordon Ramsay possesses a kind of manic, brilliant energy that has landed him 75 hours of annual programming for Fox, a global network of 35 restaurants and a net worth of $70 million.

Some call him a bully, some simply call him a businessman. No matter what you think of the Michelin-starred, no-bullshit celebrity toque, you’ve likely watched him berate red-faced chefs on his hit reality show, “Hell’s Kitchen.”

The high-stakes competition is meant to emulate the real-life stress chefs face when churning out fine dining fare in a fast-paced environment. But is the action playing out on the staged kitchen set in front of lights, cameras and crew really as tense as it seems?

“Honestly, going into it the thing that surprised me is how legit ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ is – it’s the real deal,” says Richmond chef Steve Glenn. “Nothing is scripted, you are working for Gordon Ramsay and if you're messing up his food, his reputation is on the line. If you don’t mess up his food, he won’t bother you.”

Season 20 of Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen,” subtitled “Hell’s Kitchen: Young Guns,” premieres this Memorial Day and features 18 chefs – all younger than 25 – from around the country.

The season was shot in 2019 in Las Vegas, where a Hell’s Kitchen Caesars Palace location opened in January 2018. Glenn, who was only 21 years old at the time of filming, says he discovered the small-screen opportunity “completely randomly.”

“I was scrolling on Twitter one day and I came across this post that said ‘If you just turned 21, we’re looking for you,’” Glenn says. When he followed the link for the 13-page “Hell’s Kitchen” application, he initially balked at the length and detail required. “But then I thought about it over the next couple of hours and decided to do it.”

Two hours later, “Hell’s Kitchen” reps gave him a call.

The Richmond native says he’s always been a fan of the show. “As soon as I got social media one of the first people I followed was Gordon Ramsay,” Glenn says. “I wanted to know what he was doing: He’s always been a role model.”

Glenn, who says his favorite thing to cook in his downtime is his special recipe shrimp and grits – “it’s therapeutic” – attended culinary school at the prestigious Johnson & Wales in Charlotte before working at Richmond Country Club. Today, he runs his own private chef business that he launched in 2020.

Now only 23, Glenn was well-prepared for the stress of running his own business, global pandemic and all. “When you sign on to ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ you live and breathe it,” he says. “The second you wake up you’re doing challenges, you’re prepping stuff. It’s 16- to 18-hour days, everyone is tired all the time, which obviously puts people on edge.”

Pitting 18 young, passionate, sleep-deprived chefs against each other in a hot, cramped kitchen sounds like a recipe for disaster – and burned bridges. But Glenn says he’s been in touch with all of the other competitors since their season ended, finding their camaraderie especially helpful during quarantine.

“We all went through the same thing with the show, and we couldn’t talk to anyone about it due to confidentiality so it was good to have them, we were all pretty much open about everything, we didn’t hold anything back,” he explains.

Glenn says the pressure during the competitions would sometimes get to him – it gets to everyone. But he appreciated the way Ramsay pushed the young chefs and understands why Ramsay is the way he is.

“You have to be able to adapt,” he says. “It’s one thing to be a good cook or even to be an amazing cook, but to be a good chef who can work in a restaurant, you have to be an amazing cook in half the amount of time. And what you produce has to be really good. “

“Hell’s Kitchen: Young Guns,” debuts at 8 p.m. Monday, May 31, on Fox. Book an event with chef Steve at thechefsteve.com.

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